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Poster: Fact_Checker Date: Aug 4, 2009 6:43am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Scarlet Pimpernel copyright (Re: GATT Filings)

Thanks Video-Cellar. The 1956 UK law text looks very conclusive. As you indicate, under this set of rules, a 1934 movie went into the public domain in the UK in 1984, and thus when GATT went into effect (passed by U.S. Congress in 1994) would already be beyond eligibility, based on the rule that any work that had gone into the public domain in the source country for having exhausted the time limits is not eligibility for a new copyright in the U.S.

The U.K. broadened copyrights in 1988, but that was after 1984, thus seemingly not applicable to a 1934 movie. The only thing I can see being of effect here is yet some other change in the U.K. dated 1957 to 1984, but I'm aware of no major changes to U.K. copyright law during those years.

Once again, it was great to have Video-Cellar provide the link and let all of us reading here see what the U.K. legislature enacted in their own words.

Question: does anyone know of any source for decades-old copyright law texts for France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the other countries that made movies which appealed to Americans? Better still: decades-old copyright law texts in English translations? The WIPO web site is a great resource for the current laws (in English translations, no less), but this "Scarlet Pimpernel" thread has proven the value of the historic law texts.